Web development is changing. Again! Here's how: The Modern Web What people call "the modern web" began to take shape in the e...
Web development is changing. Again! Here's how:
Personally... I didn't love it. I've tried it. I've used it in client projects where the stack was mandatory. I've even used it on passion projects to "understand the appeal". But it never stuck with me. When using any or all of the tools trending at the time, I could never say "Yes, this is my favorite stack, I can use this for 80% of the apps I build.". Quite the contrary, when I went back to a project using the "old way" of doing things... it was a breath of fresh air. I loved the simplicity of it, and how I can go back to a project 4 years later and still enjoy working on it.
And it's easy to understand why: 99.9% of the projects we build will never be the next Facebook or Netflix or Google. So using the tools they use is not only overkill, it's counter-productive. Things that make perfect sense at that scale became trendy, yes: front-end frameworks, more abstractions, SPAs, build tools, bundling, compiling. The logic went... "If their tools work at that scale, then for sure they will work at our smaller scale, right?" Eeeh... not so fast. This approach, known as the "modern web," added complexity the projects from the start. It made it more difficult to get started, more difficult to keep up, more difficult to maintain. Sure, it's easier if you work in a team of 15 devs, but... how many of us work in a team of 15 devs? Sure, Netflix can re-write a module in another framework next year, but you don't have Netflix's budget! How will you convince your client to pay for a re-write... just because you don't like the framework any more? You can't!
A new trend has been forming for the past few years, and it's all about making things simpler. I haven't found the term for it... maybe we can call it "the post-modern web", but I'd rather call it "minimalist web development". Here's what's changing:
More and more, the individual trends above unify into one central idea... keeping things simple. Favoring simplicity over complexity. Building things in a way that is good now and will be good in 5 years too. And I absolutely LOVE that. As a founder and CTO, those are important considerations in how I choose my stack. And now that more people favor the same way... good things will happen. More and more tools will be available to us that we can actually use and incorporate in our long-term projects. More and more people will come, with good ideas (and bad) and we'll all benefit from it. This is exciting!
This shift to simpler web development is a response to how complicated things had become. It's about making building and maintaining web apps easier and more fun. About making websites run fast (yes), but also making sure they'll be working (and pleasure to work with) in 3 years or in 5 years. It's not just about cutting back on the fancy stuff, it's about making a better apps, both builders and the Internet itself.
If you can't tell by now... I'm excited about this trend. In my opinion, this is exactly what web development needed. It got bloated for a few years... now it's trying to cut back on the unnecessary tech and practices everybody adopted, to reach a better middle-ground. For those who have been in web dev longer and seen trends come and go, it should also be a breath of fresh air. It means we're actually making progress. We're navigating the ups and downs of the technologies, yes. But it's all coming together in a better form 💪 For those who have only been building web apps for the past 5-7 years... I actually don't know? How do you feel about this shift?
If you're interested in more articles about this "minimalist web development" let me know in the comments below. Happy to hear what you think about it. If you've noticed the shift already or are just now hearing about it.
Thanks for the attention. Cheers!
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